How I Kicked My Procrastination Habit

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I was the world’s worst procrastinator. I struggled for years to overcome it and with motherhood, it got worse. Becoming a mother certainly did not change the size of my plate. Instead, motherhood added many new responsibilities. Also add creating a new blog, and the responsibilities on my plate spilled over the sides and started to run down the table.

Procrastinate

We all naturally gravitate toward the things that we want to do. I found myself pushing things off my plate when they were not interesting. Sometimes, I just blatantly ignored things or repeatedly put them off until tomorrow or the next day (which never came). Procrastinating was normal for me, until I read The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It.

HowIKickedMyProcrastinationHabit

This article changed my entire life. Procrastination is not just a behavior. It’s a cycle with real psychic and (sometimes financial) consequences. It is a paralyzing blend of anxiety, blame and perfectionism.  This chart sums it up. One of my biggest takeaways is that I will never be in the mood to do some things, like taking my car to get an oil change. Once I accepted that premise, my own mood in the moment did not matter as much. Completing the task become more important. This realization about myself inspired me to reform my procrastinating ways.

The Procrastination Doom Loop

Source: The Atlantic

Here is what I did:

    1. Admit that procrastination is a problem. Procrastinating comes at a price. When I delay doing something that I need to do, I tend to get down on myself for being unproductive. Sometimes, there is a financial consequence like not taking care of a home repair right away and it costs more later.
    2. Commit to making a behavioral change – one step at a time. I did not just start procrastinating, so it will take some time to change. I committed to the process.
    3. Make a procrastination list. I made a list of every task that I was procrastinating to complete. Then item by item, I started crossing tasks off my list.

As I compiled my procrastination list, it grew longer and longer. Initially, I was overwhelmed at all of the things that I needed to do. I started to get down on myself for a split second, but I did an immediate autocorrect. I promised myself that I would finish this list. At first, I was worried that I would lose interest in making this behavioral change and return to my old ways. I took a deep breath and made a deal with myself:

No new projects until I finish my procrastination list.

That was my incentive. The quicker I finished my procrastination list, the quicker I could move onto the numerous other fun projects that I want to start. I gave myself small rewards along the way. It’s been 3 weeks, and my procrastination list is 95 percent complete. Checking things off feels amazing. For the first time in a very long time, I feel on top of managing my tasks instead of my tasks managing me.

Yes! I feel like a rock star.

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Here are the tools I use to keep me on track:

1. Wunderlist – This is an awesome list-making app. I installed it on all my devices. I use it to track my tasks across my personal and work lives. I love it. I can make multiple lists and add due dates.

2. Evernote – Evernote is a note-taking app and a life saver. I also installed it on all of my devices and I use it to track my procrastination list and any other documents that go along with the list. It’s helpful for keeping different types of information in one place.  I love the check boxes.

A helpful hint: There will come a moment when you have hit your stride and the tension rises in your chest which could lead to a procrastination moment, like when you are super tired. In those moments, I remind myself of one thing: I will never be less tired than I am at that moment. Whether it’s taking out the trash or folding laundry, I’ll only ever get more tired. So, tackle the task now.

Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Good luck, Momma. You can do it.

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About Author

I am Dr. Joanna Scott, creator of Mocha Parents, Awesome Kids. I am also a mother, researcher and racial equity consultant. I have worked with numerous organizations across the country who aspire to be more intentional about race in their organizational policies and practices. In this space, I borrow from my work and my parenting experiences living at the intersection of race and gender. I have an extensive background in public policy analysis, family counseling and years of experience as a child advocate. I hope my work mirrors my heart’s song – a deep belief in the brilliance of every Black child.

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